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McKenney v. Demarco

United States District Court, E.D. New York

November 14, 2014

KEITH McKenney, Plaintiff,



On December 20, 2013, incarcerated pro se plaintiff Keith McKenney ("McKenney" or "plaintiff') filed a complaint pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 ("Section 1983") against Suffolk County Sheriff Vincent F. DeMarco ("Sheriff DeMarco" or "defendant"). [Docket Entry No. 1 (the "Complaint")]. On April 9, 2014, the Court dismissed plaintiff's in forma pauperis complaint and granted plaintiff leave to file an amended complaint alleging a plausible claim within thirty (30) days. [Docket Entry No. 7]. On April 24, 2014, plaintiff filed an unsigned, single handwritten page entitled "Amended Complaint." [Docket Entry No. 8]. The Court's Pro Se Office sent plaintiff a letter instructing plaintiff to sign and return the enclosed copy of his amended complaint in order to proceed with his case. [Docket Entry No. 9]. In accordance with the Court's letter, plaintiff re-filed a signed copy of the amended complaint. [Docket Entry No. 10 (the "Amended Complaint" or "Am. Compl.")]. For the reasons that follow, plaintiff has failed to allege a plausible claim against the defendant. Accordingly, the Amended Complaint is dismissed.

I. Background

The Amended Complaint alleges the following, in its entirety:

On 8/26/13 two "John Doe" correction officers who work for Vincent F. DeMarco in the Riverhead jail violated my 8th Amendment rights. They told the other inmates in 3 South where I was incarcerated about my crimes. I was victimized and taken advantage of by other inmates. The inmates stole my food and harassed me. Later, while imprisoned in the Yapank [sic] jail [indeciperable] and South 2 the harassment and extortion continued. I was a sentenced prisoner being held with non/sentenced inmates who wanted to hurt me. An inmate who I was incarcerated with in Riverhead was imprisoned with me in Yapahnk [sic]. He told the other inmates of my crimes and the harassment and extortion continued. If it wasn't for these 2 correction officer[s] telling the inmates of my crimes, these terrible things never would have happened. I was scared for my life, I did not sleep well and I suffered mental anguish. I seek to recover 2 million dollars.

See Am. Compl, at 1.

II. Discussion

A. Standard of Review

Under the in forma pauperis statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1915(e)(2)(B), a district court must dismiss a complaint if it is frivolous or malicious, fails to state a claim upon which relief may be granted or seeks monetary relief from a defendant who is immune from such relief. It is axiomatic that district courts are required to read pro se complaints liberally, Erickson v. Pardus, 551 U.S. 89, 94, 127 S.Ct. 2197, 167 L.Ed.2d 1081 (2007) (citations omitted), and to construe them "to raise the strongest arguments that they suggest." Gerstenbluth v. Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, 728 F.3d 139, 142-43 (2d Cir. 2013) (quotations and citations omitted). Moreover, at the pleadings stage of the proceeding, the Court must assume the truth of "all well-pleaded, nonconclusory factual allegations in the complaint." Harrington v. Cnty. of Suffolk, 607 F.3d 31, 33 (2d Cir. 2010); see also Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678-79, 129 S.Ct. 1937, 173 L.Ed.2d 868 (2009).

Nevertheless, a complaint must plead sufficient facts "to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570, 127 S.Ct. 1955, 1974, 167 L.Ed.2d 929 (2007). The pleading of specific facts is not required; rather a complaint need only give the defendant "fair notice of what the...claim is and the grounds upon which it rests." Erickson, 551 U.S. at 93 (quotations and citation omitted); see also Anderson News, LLC v. American Media, Inc., 680 F.3d 162, 182 (2d Cir. 2012), cert. denied by Curtis Circulation Co. v. Anderson News, LLC, ___ U.S. ___, 133 S.Ct. 846, 184 L.Ed.2d 655 (2013) (accord). However, "[a] pleading that offers labels and conclusions' or a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action will not do.' Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678, 129 S.Ct. 1937 (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555). "Nor does a complaint suffice if it tenders naked assertion[s]' devoid of further factual enhancement.'" Id (quoting Twombly, 550 U.S. at 557); see also Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. ex rel. St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers Retirement Plan v. Morgan Stanley Investment Management Inc., 712 F.3d 705, 717 (2d Cir. 2013) (accord). The plausibility standard requires "more than a sheer possibility that a defendant has acted unlawfully." Ashcroft, 556 U.S. at 678; see also In re Amaranth Natural Gas Commodities Litig., 730 F.3d 170, 180 (2d Cir. 2013).

B. Section 1983

Section 1983 of Tile 42 of the United States Code provides, in relevant part:

Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State... subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States... to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured...

42 U.S.C. § 1983. "Section 1983 provides a cause of action against any person who deprives an individual of federally guaranteed rights under color' of state law." Filarsky v. Delia, ___ U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 1657, 1661, 182 L.Ed.2d 662 (2012). Thus, to state a Section 1983 claim, a plaintiff must allege: (1) that the challenged conduct was "committed by a person acting under color of state law, " and (2) that such conduct "deprived [the plaintiff] of rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution or laws of the United States." Cornejo v. Bell, 592 F.3d 121, 127 (2d Cir. 2010) (quoting Pitchell v. Callan, 13 F.3d 545, 547 (2d Cir. 1994)); see also Rehberg v. Paulk, ___ U.S. ___, 132 S.Ct. 1497, 1501-02, 182 L.Ed.2d 593 (2012). Section 1983 does ...

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